Ducati Corse Off-Road have revealed the all-new Desmo450 MX motocross bike, the Italian manufacturer’s bold step back into dirt bike sport and a thoroughbred straight out of their hugely succesful race department.

Ducati announced last year that it was a planning a range of off-road models across the next few years, and that it had formed a whole new racing division in the factory – Ducati Corse Off-Road.

It came as big news and has naturally been the subject of much speculation as the off-road world clamoured for details and specs of the bikes. 

Finally we get a good look at the new 450 model, officially called teh Desmo450 MX, which is said to be the first prototype version of what will become a range of motocross models. 

To be clear, this is a prototype machine from the Ducati factory race department (Ducati Corse Off-Road) and its possible some componants you see in these images will not be on the production bikes. 


The Desmo450 MX is the name of the new model and Ducati historians will note this is not the first Desmo 450 from them, they had a street model back in the 1970’s. We’re no experts but we reckon the trademark desmodromic valve system is a touch more sophisticated in the new MX bike than it was the ‘70s.

That Desmo valve system is one of the most curious elements of this bike too. The size of the valve cover housing that system looks big to us and on first impressions is potentially going to be heavier up top. 

We‘re intrigued how they will translate that legendary Desmo power character to a back wheel biting dirt and what about the high-spec Showa suspension and Brembo brake systems? And that front fender, which is already a big talking point...

Specs? We wish we had them to include here but Ducati have yet to release anything. One thing we can add, having just spent a few days riding the  Desert Rally X model, is the fact they mean business.

You know how some manufacturers make a version of a thing which kinda looks like it but actually is a bit of a poor relation? Adventure bike manufacturers are particularly good at that.

That’s not happening with Ducati and certainly not with their race department Ducati Corse which is sweeping away all the titles in road racing right now. With the same R&D and racing ethos behind this project, expect big things.

Enduro and Rally?

The new bike will make its debut in the Italian Motocross Championship this March. Ducati say the “target of this first season of racing is mainly to acquire data and information in racing to contribute to the development of the Desmo450 MX that will go into production in the second half of 2025”.

Note: having spoken to Ducati personel it's not clear if we will ever see a bike in enduro or not. A range of motocross bikes is enough alone and they are clear that they want to make sure the produciton version of this race bike above is right.

Enduro21 is not alone in speculating on the ultimate goals for Ducati in off-road sport but making bikes which meet homologation, conform to emissions regulations and so on, is a whole other story so don't hold your breath for that one.

Naturally rally bikes with this impressive-soundingDesmo 450 motor would be a logical step that Ducati are not saying no to. But what they are uncerain about is whether 450 single cylinder bikes are the future in rally. It could be that twin cylinder bikes are allowed back in the next few years, as speculation has it, in which case Ducati has a bike already for that, the Desert X Rally.


Photo Credit: Ducati